Tuesday, March 5, 2013

41 Monthly Organizing Challenge: Linens and the Loo

Welcome to the fabulous month of March!  It is such a wonderful month that we have a snow day today!

I am back to launch another monthly challenge, this month we are tackling the less talked about areas of the home, the linens and the loo!



It's all about sharing ideas, working together and conquering our organizing projects one step at a time.  And organizing is so much more fun when you have someone to do it with {or hundreds of people to do it with}, so let's do this together!

To kick things off let's chat about some of my favorite linen and loo organizing tips:

In the bathroom: 
  • Remove all medications from the medicine cabinet.  It actually isn't great for your medicines to be stored in room that varies so much in temp and can get so humid.  It reduces the effectiveness of those medications over time.  A hall closet or a cabinet in the kitchen away from appliances, are both great alternatives.
  • Just as they are in the kitchen, drawer dividers will be your friend once again.  Bathroom drawers are often filled with itty bits such as hair ties, floss and makeup.  As The Offspring group would say, "You gotta keep 'em separated!"
  • Kitchen storage does not just have to be used in the kitchen.  Spice racks, over the door organizers and lazy susans all make great bathroom storage as well.
  • Combine all of your miscellaneous lotions and potions.  Half used conditioners, shampoos and lotions should be pared down.
  • Check the dates on your makeup, did you know it expires?
  • Keep your toothbrushes behind doors or in drawers.  When left out in the open, they are exposed to extra unwanted germs.
  • Get creative when storing things like cotton swabs and q-tips.  Thrift stores are great places to pick up decorative dishes that look beautiful in the bathroom.
  • Pre-pack and store a stocked toiletry bag so you can just grab and go when it is time to travel.
  • If you don't have a linen closet in or near your bathroom, you can add one!  Bookshelves, bathroom cabinets and utility carts all make versatile storage options.
  • Bathroom's are typically the smallest rooms in the home.  It is important to maximize on the vertical space by mounting shallow shelves or baskets to the walls to add additional storage.  Don't forget about the space behind the toilet, many etagere cabinets are designed to give you additional storage where there once was none.
  • Towel bars work great, but also consider adding hooks instead, as they can hold more than just towels and offer a little more versatility.  It also makes it easier for kids to hang their items and they don't have to be hung perfectly to still look neat.
  • Woven baskets are a really great option in bathrooms because they look great, but they also hold up well to humidity.
  • When working under the sink, find storage solutions that can be stored and stacked around all of the plumbing.
  • Don't forget about the back side of cabinets, extra storage lives there too!
  • Toss a small pail or bucket of cleaning supplies under the sink so it is easy to quickly wipe down the bathroom each day.  If you have littles, make sure to add a child safety lock.
In the linen closet:
  •  Add labels to the fronts of the shelves so the entire family can stay on the same page.  Bookplates work great for this!
  • If multiple people share a bathroom, keep a small canvas bin or shower caddy for each person tucked inside the linen closet.
  • Don't stress about folding sheets perfectly.  You can toss each set inside of it's matching pillow case, or tuck them inside of a basket.  That way, it still looks tidy, and you don't have to be a a folding wiz.
  • Use corbels or shelf dividers in-between your stacks of sheets and towels to prevent them from toppling over. 
  • Just like in the pantry, think about placement.  Frequently used items at arm's reach, less used items up high and down low.  Also consider organizing sheets and towels by person or by room.
  • The back of the linen closet door is a prime spot to add towel bars or an over the door ironing board hanger. 
  • Use stackable bins or baskets to maximize your vertical space on the shelves.
  • Utilize the floor for hampers and handheld vacuums.
  • Since medications shouldn't be kept in the bathroom, if your linen closet is in the hall, you can store your medications here.  Baskets or lock-boxes stored on the top shelves with labels, keep the items out of reach from little curious fingers.


So where does one begin?
  1. Make a list of things you are hoping to tackle this month to get your line closet and loo in working order.  Be realistic and only take on what you can commit to and pick your battles.  It doesn't have to be an entire space overhaul, just enough to feel stress free about your time in the loo each day.
  2. Find inspiration.  Check out the www and your favorite magazines for ideas and products to spark your creativity.
  3. Schedule it in!  Make time to get it done, whether it is 15 minutes per day or an hour on a weekend.  Ask for help watching the kids or get them involved to help with sorting and any crafting.
  4. Blank slate it!  Anytime I take on an organizing project, it is great to start with a blank slate.  It allows you to properly evaluate what you have and place things back where they make the most sense vs. where they have been for the last eight years.
  5. Sort.  Sort down your contents into categories and piles.  Make sure you have a purge pile!  It's time to clear out the clutter!
  6. Purge.  Say farewell to all of those things holding you back from living simply.  Only keep what you need and love, say farewell to all the rest.  Sell on Craigslist, donate to Goodwill, recycle recycle recycle.  Also, consider donating linens to local domestic violence, homeless and animal shelters.
  7. Store it!  Now that you have cleared the clutter, it is time to store the remaining items.  Use what you have and shop your home for additional items.  Check out thrift stores, the dollar store or the Container Store to find things that fit your storage needs.  Or, DIY your own storage for a custom fit, to save moolah and because crafting and projecting is fun!
  8. Share it!  Blog about your projects and share them with the world!  You have just accomplished something, you should be proud!  At the end of the month, we will link up all of our projects and share the ideas and inspiration with the IHeart Organizing community!


This blog isn't just about organizing, it's about getting your hands dirty.  Whether making a tag from scrapbooking supplies or creating hair supply storage out of magazine files.... let's dare to DIY something fun while working on our bathroom spaces!

To not only bring us some inspiration, but to also spark a few DIY ideas, here are a few that have recently caught my eye:


Create unexpected labels and pair them with clear dividers:

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Or paint your own pattern on white drawer liner, to give the inside of your drawers a little extra pizzazz:

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Build a bathroom vanity from scratch:

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Or use an old dresser to create one:

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Or give yours a face lift with a fresh coat of paint and pretty hardware:

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Soup cans attached to the inside of a cabinet door make for great hair tool storage:


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And if you are a serious DIYer, you can build a cabinet to hold and charge your styling tools:

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When it comes to hanging towels, I love the idea of knobs paired with ribbon loops:

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 Or using unexpected hardware to create hooks:

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On my DIY wish list, building a ladder to hang towels.  I love that it uses vertical space so well!

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When it comes to storing extra towels, you could build a sweet wall unit:

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Or use wall mounted planters or baskets to tuck extras away:

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How pretty are these DIY floating shelves?  I love that they can be customized to any size and finish:

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And when working in the linen closet, painting old baskets with fresh colors, adding labels to the shelves and dividers between linens, really goes a long way!

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So who is excited to tackle the linen closet and loo with me?  I will be sharing a few of our projects along the way this month, but what I am most excited about is seeing yours at the end of the month during the Link Party!

What other bathroom and linen closet organizing tips do you have to share to kick off the challenge?  Any projects that are working wonders for you?  How about favorite product picks that you couldn't function without?


41 comments:

  1. Ahhhhhhh perfection! We're totally on the same wavelength because I *JUST* started my linen closet makeover this month! Love the ideas/inspiration ad can't wait to share it with you when I'm done. If I don't pass out at the bottom of the closet in a pile of blankets, that is! =) Haha the joys of pregnancy!

    Love ya girly!

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  2. Love your blog! I need to do some purging and organizing. This sounds like a great place to start!

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  3. Yay, this is the second time you suggest a monthly challenge that I already thought about!
    I recently went on a weekly cleaning tour in the bathroom and was so unsatisfied with how it looks and works (or it doesn't) right now.
    So let's pick up this battle just like I did the last time and let's see how things work out!

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  4. I was hoping you'd do the loo next as it's next on my list, too.... but I have soooo much on this month so I will struggle to get much done!! I will try though! :)

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  5. Wow! I was just thinking about organizing my bath as well. IT needs a few updates but I can't do much since I rent. Will definitely be linking up at the end of the month. You make organizing fun!

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  6. I don't have much to work on in bathrooms in my home, but I am planning on helping my mom with her bathroom cabinets and sharing them on my blog soon! Can't wait to link up!!

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  7. This is exactly what I was hoping to work on this month. I second what you said about donating old linens. Even if you have old towels that are coming apart/bleached/faded/disgusting looking to you – an animal shelter or local vet’s office would love to have them.

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  8. Ahhh You sucker me in every time. Way to inspire!

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  9. Yayness!!! I so need to go through our linen closet and bathroom storage - very psyched to do this challenge!

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  10. This is so exciting. I've been following for quite some time, but I think I'm going to jump on the band wagon and work on organizing the "loo" (I didn't know what the loo was, I googled it! haha). I recently moved into an apartment where I'm attending college and our bath is SO small, with little storage. I have no under the sink storage, so I'm looking for creative ideas to store things like my brushes, straightener, blowdryer. Everything is stored on top of my toilet. :( I'd LOVE to hear your ideas or tips for me. Is there anyway we can email??? I'd love to send you a photo and get some more ideas from you. :) I'll obviously use ideas you posted as well.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read this LONG comment. haha.

    http://vscupcakecouture.blogspot.com

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    1. If it helps, I use a basket like this in one of our bathroom drawers. Out of sight, out of mind! ;)

      http://www.target.com/p/itso-set-of-4-small-bin-with-lid-brown/-/A-14094890#prodSlot=medium_1_10&term=basket+lid

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  11. I'm having trouble with storing feminine products in an easily accessible place, but not so accessible that my little boys will discover them and use them in a building/craft project. I also want something aesthetically pleasing. Any suggestions (or do you plan to cover that in a post this month)?

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  12. Thanks for featuring my floating shelves, Jen! I can't wait to see how you tackle this month's challenge :)

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  13. Great organizational planning! I think this list will be able to help me out a lot.

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  14. These are all fabulous ideas. I can't wait to get started on my bathroom organizing! Such a great motivational post!

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  15. We found a lockable metal cabinet at Ikea, very reasonably priced, that makes a great medicine cabinet. We have one mounted in our mudroom with basic first aid supplies (bandaids, tape, gauze, scissors, anti-itch cream, tylenol, advil) and another one mounted in our walk-in closet that contains medicines. They were too high for our children to reach when they were little, assuming they even had the key, and they were away from the humid areas of the home. Now that the boys are older, they can reach them easily. http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/24586510/

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  16. I am on board!
    I can't wait to tackle the Loo and Linen closet!
    I am going to start looking for an inspiration photo or something to give me motivation on this task for the month!
    Thanks Jen for all you do! My life style has totally changed for the good since I found your Blog!
    I am a happy Lady!
    ~Blessings~
    Rhonda

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  17. Yay! I was cleaning out my bathroom drawer just this morning, and thinking that I should see if you've done a bathroom challenge yet. Perfect timing! :)

    Specifically, I would LOVE to see your ideas for organizing hair do-dads. Bobby pins, pony tail bands, etc. I use the mini-size food storage containers for the bands, but I'm still putting my bobby pins back on the card they came on. I don't care for them all messy in a cup or container (yes, I'm OCD!). Any thoughts for a smarter or prettier way to do it?

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    1. my daughter is a dancer & keeps hers on a wide grosgrain ribbon

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    2. I use a floss (thread for cross stitch) organizer from a craft store. It's just the right size to keep bobby pins lined up the right way, and has lots of little holes for different types of rubber bands, little clips, and such.

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    3. I store mine in a small, square vase in a drawer. When I used to dance semi-professionally, I used to use a Tic Tac container.

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    4. Brilliant ideas! Thank you both. :)

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  18. Love the soup can idea for storing hair brushes! I never would have thought about that. Living in an apartment, I'm all about taking advantage of unused space.
    {lamourcheznous.wordpress.com}

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  19. Thanks so much for linking to my DIY towel ladder, I can't believe how popular it's been. Great roundup!

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  20. Thanks for all the great inspiration pics and ideas. :) My main bathroom which also serves as the guest bath since our master is teensy (old house), is in pretty great shape organizing-wise. But, I've been looking to go over it all one more time to steal a shelf or two for the linens which live in another hall closet right now. Looking forward to the challenge.

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  21. Organizing our master bath has made everything shower/morning routine so much easier! It's so much easier to clean too! Can't wait to use some of your tips!

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  22. This is a great idea! I'm doing "March to your closet" over on my blog. We will be tackling our closets!

    -Sarah
    limitedspaceorganizing.blogspot.com

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  23. I'm in MN so I got that snow, too :D So fun.

    I actually just made a huge spring cleaning list and my bathroom is one area that needs major improvement. I live in a small Minneapolis apt with the tiniest bathroom. I am not kidding, people can turn around and that's about it.

    I love many of these ideas, and am pretty envious of the idea of having drawers in a bathroom. Right now a teeny cart works a bit, but I like the idea of hanging baskets for more storage!

    Thanks for writing such an excellent blog!

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  24. I remember our sink in a dresser. We made that over twenty years ago. He still has the dresser and the sink, but he doesn't have me anymore...

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  25. Well I'm behind on these challenges, but enjoying them immensely. I'm nearly finished with the office and have the pantry to tackle next (just picked up some containers at Ikea and some chalkboard labels). I did a fairly recent purge of the linen closet, but I have some tweaks to make there still, and I really hope to get the medicines, travel sizes, first aid stuff etc. better organized.

    I do have some neat ideas for the linen closet. I use large reusable fabric bags to separate out all of my linens by size of bed (we have four bedrooms and four different size beds!). Each is labeled of course. Then there is a bag for old towels to be used to wipe off the dog so they don't get mixed in with the boys' bath towels. I'm also in the process of putting together a special place for all of those mismatched socks while they wait for their mate to show up in the next load of laundry. I'll post pictures at the end of the challenge. Thanks for all of the fabulous ideas so far, looking forward to the next set.

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  26. I finally tossed out our dirty diaper container that was at the bottom of our linen closet and can't wait to create a "fresher" friendlier space! :-)

    ~Sarah

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  27. Thanks for the motivation! I've been wanting to build a towel rack in my master bathroom for a while now. Maybe I'll finally get it done. Thanks for the shout out too - such great inspiration - honored to be included!

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  28. Thanks for the great tips! I have spring fever right now and have been working on several projects around the house. This will really help me evaluate my space. Thanks!

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  29. Thank you for your amazing blog and awesome tips! It's so funny, I was a bit messy before I had my son, but post pregnancy it's like my personality changed and I have become overboard crazy about neatness! To the point where I drive my hubby crazy!
    I like these tips and think I'll start this weekend (while he is out surfing ;)

    http://shannybannanyslife.blogspot.com

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  30. One of the best things I did to our main bathroom was add a peg towel holder instead of the traditional towel bar. Then I labeled the pegs and color coded the towels so everyone knows where things belong.

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  31. Well whoop-dee-doo i already started :) I purged this weekend and got a few things ready for resale. I need to figure out the bathroom closet though...too many mismatched containers.

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  32. Can't wait! I'm totally game. I feel motivated to get going on the Linens and The Loo!

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  33. I recognize those green dots!! thanks friend! Let's rock this loo!

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  34. I live as a lodger (with one other girl) in the basement of our house. Our bathroom is tiny and cold (both temperature and feel) so I have made the best of what we have recently. We have a small mirrored cupboard on the wall and a 4 block of ikea expedit with 2 cupboards and 2 drawers. We have half of the cabinet and a cupboard each to store toiletries out of the way. The bottom drawers are for hiding away cleaning things in one side and loo roll, spare shower curtain and floor mat in the other. I keep my makeup on the top of the expedit unit.
    I've added a striped mat on the floor to make it feel more homely. If I was staying here longer I would have got some kind of shelf to use within my cupboard as there's wasted space. I also have a 4 drawer basket storage where I store tampons, cotton wool, and bits and bobs which just squeezes in beside the expedit.
    It's not pretty but it's enough storage for us and it works. If it was my home I'd redecorate and make it a billion times better, but it's not.
    I look forward to seeing what ideas come up for when I do have my own place.

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  35. I love all of these tips and ideas!!! Can't wait to get started on this one!

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  36. My main problem with our linen closet is that the main bathroom is downstairs (next to the master bedroom) and the linen closet is upstairs across from the other bathroom. It's not very convenient. I ended up clearing a shelf in my youngest daughter's closet, which is also on the first floor, to be a mini-linen area for towels and our sheets.

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